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Fargo city leaders approve 2019 budget

FARGO -- The city's 2019 budget, which includes a slight increase in utility fees and no changes to the tax rate, was approved by city commissioners Monday night, Sept. 24.

Tim Mahoney
Tim Mahoney

FARGO - The city's 2019 budget, which includes a slight increase in utility fees and no changes to the tax rate, was approved by city commissioners Monday night, Sept. 24.

The vote was 4-1 with Commissioner Tony Gehrig dissenting.

Given the lack of tax relief offered, he had asked his colleagues to make several cuts during the last of their two votes, including eliminating the FM Link bus connecting downtown Fargo and Moorhead and cutting funding for social services.

His motions all died for lack of seconds from other commissioners.

Commissioner John Strand said he wished Gehrig had raised these concerns earlier in the budget process but Gehrig said he had.

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Mayor Tim Mahoney said Gehrig did approach him but he wanted to stick with the budget he proposed, which was largely approved by other commissioners.

The budget includes a 2.2 percent increase to the general fund, the main budget for day-to-day operations, for a total of $98.5 million. The city expects additional revenue in the coming year, including a 5.3 percent increase in property taxes for a total of $25.8 million and a 6.7-percent increase in state aid for a total of $18.1 million.

The property tax rate will stay at 51 mills but new properties and the increasing value of existing properties means the city still would get more revenue.

Fees for street lights, tree maintenance and storm sewers will also go up for homeowners and commercial businesses by varying degrees.

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